Dr. Osita Afoaku is Director of Outreach in the African Studies Program and faculty in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington State University, Pullman, and his Bachelor’s degree in French at the University of Ife, Nigeria and L’Université des Langues et Lettres, Grenoble, France. Among his recent works is a co-authored book Sustainable Development in Africa: A Multifaceted Challenge (African World Press, 2005). Dr. Afoaku was the 1998 recipient of the Lawrence Dunbar Reddick Memorial Scholarship Award from the Association of Third World Studies for his work on US-Congo relations.
2005 0-7734-6034-9 This work traces the remote origins of Congo’s current national predicament and the people’s protracted quest for democracy and social justice. The first part of the book provides an account of the political history of modern Congo which sets the context for the second part, an in-depth discussion of the interplay of internal and external forces in Congo and their impact on the politics of democratic transition in the country from 1990 through the early 2000s. Arguing that recent popular resistance against political dictatorship in Congo builds on a long-standing tradition, the author offers critical analysis of post-Cold War configuration of pro-democracy forces (or the appearance thereof) inside the country and at the global level, which compelled President Mobutu to inaugurate political reform in April 1990. Against this backdrop, he assesses the roles played by the Sovereign National Conference (SNC), the transitional institutions established by the SNC, and the Sacred Union of opposition, all of which emerged during the early 1990s in response to the government’s decision to lift the ban on partisan political activity. With particular reference to the 1996–97 war, which toppled Mobutu’s regime, and the 1998–2003 war against the Kabila regime, the author analyses the events leading up to internationalization of Congo’s transition crisis and the roles played by principal actors from the country’s rival political factions and their international allies in the two conflicts. The book concludes with cautious optimism about the prospects for democracy and sustainable economic development in the post-Mobutu Congo and an overview of some of the practical steps that must be taken by the Congolese people and the global community in order to realize these objectives.